Human Geography

Download Environmentalism and Cultural Theory: Exploring the Role of by Kay Milton PDF

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By Kay Milton

The decade has obvious a dramatic raise in the eye paid via social scientists to environmental matters, and a steady acknowledgement, within the wider neighborhood, of the position of social technological know-how within the public debate on sustainability. even as, the idea that of culture', as soon as the valuables of anthropologists has won broad foreign money between social scientist. those tendencies have taken position opposed to a becoming notion, between expert and public, of the worldwide nature of latest matters. This publication indicates how an realizing of tradition can throw gentle at the method environmental matters are perceived and interpreted, either via neighborhood groups and in the modern worldwide area. Taking an anthropological strategy the ebook examines the connection among human tradition and human ecology, and considers how a cultural method of the examine of environmental concerns differs from different proven methods in social technology. This booklet provides considerably to our realizing of environmentalism as a modern phenomenon, through demonstrating the particular contribution of social and cultural anthropology to the environmental debate. it will likely be of specific curiosity to scholars and researchers within the fields of social technology and the surroundings.

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Extra resources for Environmentalism and Cultural Theory: Exploring the Role of Anthropology in Environmental Discourse (Environment and Society)

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This view depends on a sharp separation between anthropological analysis and involvement in social life. It implies that the practice of social science can be detached from the practice of social activity, or at least from social (or cultural) reform (Berger 1963). Although this view was once widespread amongst anthropologists, it has been undermined by the changes in the way culture is understood. The dialectical relationship between culture (meaning what people hold in their minds) and what people do, which has been a main focus of post-structuralist anthropological analysis, consists of two complementary processes: that whereby culture generates actions, and that whereby culture is sustained, reinforced or modified through actions.

In fact, a concern to protect the environment through human effort might be expressed in many different ways, depending on how the environment itself and the forces that impact upon it are defined. Even where the protection of the environment is seen as being in the hands of a divine being or spirits, these agents may require human obedience and respect in return for their protection. In these circumstances, responsibility for the environment is in human hands, but may be implemented through actions which, from the viewpoint of industrial society, would not easily be recognized as environmentalist: acts of worship, for instance, or the daily maintenance of certain standards of behaviour (fulfilment of kinship obligations, avoidance of incest or adultery).

Some have used it in defence of cultural pluralism and human rights, some have used it primarily to further their own academic careers, others have probably been content to assume that they are contributing to the sum of human knowledge. Those who have argued that anthropologists should not participate in social reform have, through their very arguments, helped to perpetuate an image of value-free social science and to give scientific considerations precedence over moral ones (see Milton 1993:13).

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